Sex- and sub region-dependent modulation of arcuate kisspeptin neurones by vasopressin and vasoactive intestinal peptide.


A population of kisspeptin neurones located in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARN) very likely represent the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone pulse generator responsible for driving pulsatile luteinising hormone secretion in mammals. As such, it has become important to understand the neural inputs that modulate the activity of ARN kisspeptin (ARNKISS ) neurones. Using a transgenic GCaMP6 mouse model allowing the intracellular calcium levels ([Ca2+ ]i ) of individual ARNKISS neurones to be assessed simultaneously, we examined whether the circadian neuropeptides vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) modulated the activity of ARNKISS neurones directly. To validate this methodology, we initially evaluated the effects of neurokinin B (NKB) on [Ca2+ ]i in kisspeptin neurones residing within the rostral, middle and caudal ARN subregions of adult male and female mice. All experiments were undertaken in the presence of tetrodotoxin and ionotropic amino acid antagonists. NKB was found to evoke an abrupt increase in [Ca2+ ]i in 95%-100% of kisspeptin neurones throughout the ARN of both sexes. By contrast, both VIP and AVP were found to primarily activate kisspeptin neurones located in the caudal ARN of female mice. Although 58% and 59% of caudal ARN kisspeptin neurones responded to AVP and VIP, respectively, in female mice, only 0%-8% of kisspeptin neurones located in other ARN subregions responded in females and 0%-12% of cells in any subregion in males (P